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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County: National Guard extends service as demand for food delivery increases

national guard helps foodbank
Keith Carls / KCOY

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Since the coronavirus outbreak, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has quadrupled the amount of food moving in and out.

"This is the most food we've ever moved in a single month. We did over 1.1 million pounds of food to our community," said Lacey Baldiviez with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

As the number of food deliveries nearly quadrupled the usual amount, the National Guard is extending its help for the area from 10 days to one month.

Troops in Santa Maria are working at the warehouse, making home deliveries to seniors, volunteering at drive-thru distributions and packing bags for contact-free distributions.

"We've been helping the warehouse. We get sent out to deliveries like senior retirement homes. We have guys constantly on the run and constantly around town," said Derrick Viray with the United States Air Force.

This past week, the National Guard crew has driven close to 2,000 miles delivering about a thousand bags of food.

In addition, Girls Inc. is now offering nearly a dozen vans to the foodbank to help with the deliveries.

This will help support the growing senior home delivery initiative.

"The vans increase the amount of food that we can deliver. Normally we do about seven drops, so seven different homes per van. So this will allow us to do up to 40," said Baldiviez.

As the demand for more food deliveries is expected to increase, the foodbank is pleased with the extra help they're getting. 

"It's been critically important to have the National Guard here. They've been able to extend their stay for thirty days. They do everything from helping us use routing software to packing bags, loading vans and even making home deliveries, so they've been a huge addition," said Baldiviez.

So far, the Foodbank has delivered 3,400 bags of food to seniors in their homes, and they're adding more than 100 new homes per day.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Patricia Martellotti

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